June 10, 2010 | by Kevin Naff
National news in brief

Pelosi to offer message at San Francisco Pride

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is scheduled to give a pre-recorded video address at an upcoming San Francisco Pride event, making her the first speaker to offer remarks at a Pride celebration.

In a statement last week, San Francisco Pride announced Pelosi would offer the message for a June 27 event at San Francisco’s Civic Center for the city’s 40th Pride celebration.

Amy Andre, executive director of San Francisco Pride, said event organizers are “extremely honored that Speaker Pelosi will be a part of this historic event.”

“She is dedicated to achieving equality for every American,” Andre said. “As a respected and esteemed ally of our community, she’s a champion for all Americans who believe in equal rights.”

In addition to the video message, the speaker is also set to make public an official letter honoring “San Francisco’s proud history of advocacy for equal rights and to honor the contributions of the LGBT community to our 
city, our state and our nation.”

The letter is set for publication June 7 in San Francisco Pride’s annual promotional magazine. It also will be available at sfpride.org.

Girl, Virginia mom missing from Vt. custody fight

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A child custody fight between former lesbian partners is headed back to court in Vermont even though the girl at the heart of it remains missing.

Eight-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins and birth mother Lisa Miller failed to appear for a court-ordered Jan. 1 custody swap in which Miller’s former partner, Janet Jenkins, was to get the girl. Miller is from Forest, Va. Jenkins is from Fair Haven, Vt.

The girl is listed as missing. The Associated Press reported a lawyer for Jenkins said Miller and the girl are believed to have flown to El Salvador last September.

According to the Associated Press, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear arguments June 23 from Miller’s attorneys, who say a Family Court judge erred last November in awarding custody to Jenkins.

Kolbe reacts to McCain opposition to ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

WASHINGTON — A former out Republican congressman told the Blade he disagrees with his longtime friend Sen. John McCain’s opposition to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but respects his position.

Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), who served in Congress from 1985 to 2007, said June 2 that he’s “obviously on the other side” of McCain (R-Ariz.) on the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“I disagree with him, but Sen. McCain and I have a long relationship and friendship that goes back a long ways, and we have a history of cooperation on a lot of different issues for Arizona and for the nation,” Kolbe said. “And so, I may disagree with him on this, and do, both professionally and personally, but I respect his position.”

McCain has emerged as one of the chief opponents of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. Senate. He’s pledged to stop repeal by supporting a Senate filibuster of the defense authorization bill to which the repeal language is attached.

Some pundits have speculated that McCain is taking a position in strong opposition to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because he’s facing a primary challenge from conservative J.D. Hayworth.

Kolbe declined to say why McCain is opposed to repeal. The former congressman said he didn’t know if McCain might change his position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but Kolbe said he hopes the senator will change his mind.

“I certainly hope that he will and be supportive of changing the policy, but I don’t know,” Kolbe said.

Kolbe noted that he hasn’t had any conversations recently with McCain on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

In 1996, after Kolbe publicly came out as gay following his vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, McCain came to the congressman’s defense and said Kolbe’s coming out didn’t cause “much of a ripple” in Arizona.

Kolbe endorsed McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign. In a Q&A with the Blade in October 2008, McCain identified Kolbe as someone he counted as among his gay friends.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

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